Explore the beauty of Ecuador and develop your skills through cultural immersion, high-quality academics, impactful experiential education, and supportive student services. The exchange program in Quito provides students with the opportunity to take courses with Ecuadorian students, live with local families, volunteer in the community, conduct research with a local professor, and experience the breathtaking landscape of the one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Through coursework taken at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, students will gain a deeper understanding of Latin America's racial, economic, and geographic contrasts. This program offers an integrated academic and social environment as well as the support of a knowledgeable, experienced on-site staff.
This program is competitive. Students are strongly encouraged to identify a second and third choice program in the event we are not able to accommodate all applicants. To read more about the application review process for competitive programs, please review the information here.
Eligibility You must meet the following requirements to be eligible to participate in this program:
Good Academic Standing
Minimum 2.50 Cumulative GPA
Completion of one semester at time of application
Completed SPAN 141 or the equivalent
Dates & Deadlines
All requirements must be completed by the Illinois Abroad Office deadlines: online materials are due by 11:59 PM on the deadline date.
*See official deadlines at the bottom of this page.
Program Costs, Financial Aid, & Scholarships
Program-specific costs are available through the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page. For more information about financial aid and scholarships for study abroad, click here. Academics Students will enroll at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ). USFQ is a small, private liberal arts school of about 4,500 undergraduates, of which 1,000 are international students mainly from the U.S. This university has a distinct personality; it is a unique blend of a peaceful location in Cumbayá (the valley just outside of Quito), excellent academic opportunities (over 47 undergraduate majors) and a motivated student population. USFQ offers over 28 different student clubs that international students can join and an undergraduate research program called L0ERI that international students can participate in. Its colorful buildings provide a charming, picturesque setting and its extensive library provides the perfect space to conduct research or meet up with other students to study.
As an exchange student, you are able to take nearly any course available at the university. Depending on the course, you may be with all international students, a mix of international and Ecuadorian students, or all Ecuadorian students. The majority of these classes will be taught entirely in Spanish. The disciplines available at USFQ include but are not limited to: Agriculture, Anthropology, Architecture, Art, Biology, Cinema and Television, Communication, Media, Ecology, Economics, Engineering, Food Sciences, Health, History, Spanish, Languages, Law, Music, Psychology, Sociology, Women's Studies, Accounting, Chemistry, Computer Science, Education, Graphic Design, Hospitality, Human Resources, Marketing, Mathematics, Natural Resources, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, and Tourism. A limited number of courses taught in English are available, along with courses to learn other languages such as Quichua, Chinese, French, and more.
For a list of courses offered that already have Illinois equivalents, click here.
Housing USFQ matches interested students with carefully screened host families in Quito. Host families are required to provide students with their own bedroom (bathroom may be shared), Wifi internet access, and two meals per day (breakfast and dinner). Host families generally live within a 15-45 minute commute by public transportation from the USFQ campus in Cumbayá. Past participants often cite their host family as the most beneficial and memorable aspect of their study abroad experience. For more information, click here.
The mission of the Office of International Programs (OPI) is to provide services and resources to all international students that go to USFQ and to facilitate USFQ students applying for the exchange program to partner universities abroad. For more information, click here.
Every international student at USFQ has the option of becoming involved in the EcuaBuddies program. This opportunity allows international students to become connected to USFQ degree-seeking students to gain an introduction to USFQ, meet local friends, and share in Ecuadorian customs and social events. USFQ also offers a number of student clubs in a variety of interest areas including theatre, tango, chess, ecology, and cycling, to name a few. If students cannot find what interests them, they can always start a new club! For more information, click here.
Each semester the OPI offers international students the opportunity to participate in optional excursions to many parts of Ecuador for a nominal fee. These trips can be for the day, weekend, or even a week. Past trips have included Tiputini, Mindo, Peru, and the Galápagos Islands. Options vary each semester. For more information, click here.
Experiential Education Opportunities:
Volunteering is an important part of the program. A majority of students in previous semesters have sought further integration into Ecuadorian life by volunteering in organizations dealing with issues of environmental protection, women's shelters, orphanages, retirement homes, public schools, and public hospitals. Students can connect to these opportunities through the service-learning course titled “Aprendizaje – Servicio" which you can learn more about here.
Students may also apply to the L0ERI program which provides students the opportunity to conduct a research project in conjunction with a USFQ faculty member in various fields of study. For more information, click here.
Application Process Please click the Apply Now button (at the top of this page) to apply. Note that you will be charged a non-refundable $100 Study Abroad Systems Fee by clicking Apply Now.
Step 1) The IAGE application, which includes:
Academic recommendation (completed online by an academic advisor, TA, or professor)
Host language essay (in Spanish)
Official electronic transcript (eSCRIP)
Only application materials for Step 1) must be turned in by the deadlines listed below.
Step 2) The host university application, (TO BE COMPLETED AFTER YOU ARE NOMINATED BY AN ADVISOR IN STEP 1):
If you are nominated by Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange based on your application in Step 1), you will then submit a second application to the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Your study abroad advisor will provide you with additional information, and supplemental application instructions will follow.
Resources & Contact Information
First Steps Workshops:
Just getting started? Click here for the dates and times of the First Steps Workshops.
Walk-In Advising Hours:
Monday - Friday
9:00 AM - 4:45 PM
IAGE Advising and Resource Center (112 International Studies Building)